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Kicker-Punter Combo? Parrish the Thought

The Eagles released punter Durant Brooks today. Brooks was signed early in the offseason and was touted as viable competition to OK-but-not-overwhelming Sav Rocca. His demise leaves Ken Parrish as Rocca's only competition, which is interesting, because Parrish, signed and cut a year ago, spent his downtime productively -- not only trying to refine his punting but also continuing his experiment in learning to kick off.

New special teams coordinator Bobby April mentioned this recently, and you could tell April was intrigued by the idea of having a punter who could take kickoff duties off the 35-year-old shoulders of David Akers. Akers would seem less susceptible to injury if he weren't trying to boot the ball 70 yards and then running down to throw himself at returners, something Akers takes pride in doing, whenever the coverage breaks down.

You might recall Parrish from last year as the Monroe County police officer, son of a captain, who quit the force to take another shot at the NFL, two years after a preseason fling with the 49ers. Parrish, who played at East Stroudsburg, was cut during training camp at Lehigh; he later got a look with the Jets. The Eagles signed him again this spring.

"I guess I did good enough last year that they wanted to bring me back and see it again," Parrish said after today's rookie camp workout. "Last year was my first real year of going at it live (with kicking), so I'm just fine-tuning every day."

"Punting and kickoff is two different swings, all different muscles and everything like that. I think that's why a lot of people get confused on it," Parrish said. He said he separated the two during offseason workouts, doing, for instance, a couple of weeks of just kicking, without punting, then just punting.

When he heard Brooks was gone, Parrish said, "I was like, 'man, I've been there before.' I was there when I was with the 49ers ... you've just got to keep worrying about you, focus on what you can do on the field. You can't let that stuff get in your head, or you'll already be out the door. You've got to be positive, you've got to think that 'I can win this.' If the opportunity comes to you, you've just got to seize the moment."

Parrish said he wants to win the punting job fair and square, by outbooting Rocca, not by being just OK but also offering the kickoff option.

"I want to be good at both of them, not just be like, 'oh, he's good because he's a combo guy.' I want to perfect what I can do at both those positions ... Sav is a great guy and he's got a great leg. I'm just going to go toe-to-toe with my gameplan," Parrish said.

Unclear whether the "toe-to-toe" thing was pun intended.


Veteran free agent signee Mike Bell joined the rookie camp running back mix Monday but tweaked a hamstring, the Eagles said, and will sit a few days, at least.


Defensive tackle Mike Patterson was working out at NovaCare this morning when he was summoned to the parking lot, where security officers, soon supplemented by the Philadelphia Fire Department, were putting out a fire that started in the engine of Patterson's SUV, a highly customized GMC with California plates.

In the aftermath, Patterson's ride looked pretty well toasted, sporting a baked-on coating of fire retardant spray. Damage to adjoining cars was limited to splatter from the spray.